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Population Structure of Coimbatore Canes Developed in a Century of Sugarcane Breeding in India

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One hundred years have passed since the inception of sugarcane breeding in India and the country witnessed 9.58-fold increase in sugarcane production. A major factor for this success was due to the impact of Coimbatore canes (Co canes) developed at ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, Coimbatore, India, which dominate the sugarcane area in the country. This study was conducted to gain knowledge about population structure of the improved genetic material comprising 1453 Co canes for their judicious utilization in sugarcane improvement activities. Field trials were conducted by pooling these Co canes developed during 1918 to 2017 for sugar yield and its component traits. Population structure develops due to non- random mating of individuals resulting in varying allelic frequency among different sub-populations. Population structure analysis divided the Co canes into four sub-populations (subpopulation). The strength and weakness of each sub-population for important yield and juice quality traits revealed from the study are summarized. Accordingly, the Co canes in subpopulations 3 and 4 appeared promising for breeding for varietal development, and combination of Co canes belonging to two different groups with high expression of specific traits could be used as parents for trait specific genetic enhancement. These subpopulations were in turn classified into many sub-subpopulations among which sub-subpopulation 4 of subpopulation1 and sub-subpopulation 3 of subpopulation 3 were the unique populations identified for number of millable canes (NMC) and Hand Refractometer brix (HRB) at 240 days, respectively, whereas for other traits there were more number of superior subpopulations. The result of the study is expected to aid parental selection to harness the best out of the genetic diversity available in the commercial gene pool to achieve faster genetic gain and to improve precision of sugarcane breeding.

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Availability of Data and Material

The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Authors and Affiliations



Hemaprabha: Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing- Original draft preparation, Lakshmi Pathy: Formal analysis, draft preparation and Editing, Mohanraj: Formal analysis, Reviewing, Alarmelu: Investigation, Resources, Bakshi Ram: Visualization, Supervision.

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Correspondence to G Hemaprabha.

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G, H., Pathy, T.L., Mohanraj, K. et al. Population Structure of Coimbatore Canes Developed in a Century of Sugarcane Breeding in India. Sugar Tech 24, 1449–1460 (2022).

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